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The greatest, most fundamental principle at the heart of Prometheanism is that life is the ultimate value and highest standard. This means more than survival. It means living more fully, to the greatest potential. The advancement of life, to further the integrated strength and vitality of life, is the great Promethean cause.

These interconnected, inseparable core beliefs of Prometheanism are essential parts of the idea of the advancement of life:

 

The Individual Nature of Life

We live individually. Life is I, for you, and for everyone. Each person’s experience of living life in mind and body is subject to their own unique, individual perspective. For every person, their life is life - it is everything. And what matters most? The greatest, most fulfilled expression of that life, according to who they are, what they can do, and what they choose to do.

Self-Expression

The key to unlocking the potential of every life is self-expression. Really expressing oneself in thought and action, whatever this must mean for a given person, makes that person more or less alive according to their potential and the nature of who they are. We should all endeavor to live life to the fullest of our potential, maximizing self-expression. This means: get the most out of life. Live as strongly, confidently and as satisfied as you can, and take chances - but define this for yourself. People must explore what self-expression means for them.

Integrated Strength

By self-expression the integration of strengths, or integrated strength of a person can be augmented, or likewise weakened by inhibition of thought or control over action. When we express ourselves, we live more, and we become (metaphorically) stronger. We become more accustomed to express ourselves, and we also become more able to cope. That powerful strength, that greatness, is not something to avoid or fear. We don’t need to be controlled or prevented from strength – when we are strong people in that holistic sense, and feel confident and complete as who we are, we treat each other well quite naturally. We have a respect for life. We no longer wish to cause harm to ourselves or others consciously or unconsciously, and only really hurt ourselves or each other by accident or out of ignorance. Integrated strength, which feels like fulfillment to oneself, appears as real nobility to others. Psychological weakness and need, on the contrary, induces us to harm others. (If we feel strong and self-sufficient and we feel thoroughly powerful, what need have we of doing harm? In such a case we have "integrity.") It is a lack of cohesive, integrated strength which catalyzes most of our horrible problems (combined with misunderstanding ourselves and other people).

Self-Interest and Individualism

When we listen to ourselves about what we want and try to achieve it, our thoughts and deeds (our self-expression) can be said to follow our self-interest. There is nothing perverse in this. In fact, following our own way is the only chance we have to reach our potential and achieve what would really advance our lives. How much following our self-interest will really advance our life or harm it, and the effect it will have on others, depends not only on our capability but also on our integrated strength, because our desires will become more noble and more considerate the stronger we are. At its best, self-interest is another name for what guides us as we become more alive by expressing ourselves in thought and action. When individuals live by following self-interest, it is also known as individualism, and Prometheanism endorses this way of life. To follow this way, we each can make our own path, and really there are no dependable substitutes for determining one's own path of advantage to be had from others - not from merely copying what others do, nor from merely reacting against their influences, according to simple instincts and habits of conformity and differentiation. Rather we can authentically guide ourselves only by judging for ourselves what to imitate, react against, or create anew, in rich recombination.

Deep Individuality and Complex Diversity

There are a great many paths self-expression could take. There are a great many forms of self-interest. There are a great many different kinds of people. Even from moment to moment one individual can change quite unpredictably. Really looking at individual people, we see that while all nature displays complexity in variations and interconnections, humans display complexity in a particularly individuated way. Humanity is an amazingly diverse species by nature, meaning more than just in simple categories like culture, color of skin, gender, occupation, or even rough descriptions of the complexity of our personalities. Each person is special and different in personality and mindset from a complex combination of individual genetics and individual experience, including cultural influences such as ideas. And, the stronger we are as individuals, the more independent and exceptional we may tend to become. There is tremendous value in this complex diversity of individuality, which suggests both cultivating individual depth, and providing for free flowing and sophisticated interpersonal interaction. As long as each person is allowed to express themselves and interact independently and organically, every one is likely to become richer for it.

Subjectivity

Another way of saying life is subject to individual perspective is that everything in life is subjective. Nothing can be proven absolutely – there is no completely objective right and wrong, or true and false, separate from who we are and how we experience life as different individuals. There are only practical truths, and contextually useful ways of thinking. Objectivity only has meaning in context, and should not have power to dominate our thoughts. However, we can assert and believe useful and helpful things, and agree on them in context.

Beliefs and Ideas

So ideas are very important - they are the only foundation we have to live by that we can use to change, having received everything else basic (and many of our ideas) by being born and growing up. Ideas are the most fundamental means of communication, exchange, and influence between individuals. Ideas rule. We need to believe ideas which are useful and beneficial when measured by the standard of life. The most important idea by any wording is the value of life, the belief in our ability to advance our lives, to improve them, broaden them, and take them further.

 

Other important principles of Prometheanism follow from these core beliefs, when applied to important questions and combined with other profitable ways of thinking and models of interpretation.

See also: The Promethean Trilogy and especially The Promethean Manifesto: 2. Foundations, Self-Expression, On Conformity, and other material at Promethea.

 

composed by Phoenix
page updated January 2, 2004 4:52

 

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